Most founders start with a blank canvas, meaning they’ve got no previous company exists or experiences in the space. And there is nothing wrong with that as people are not born understanding the meanings of the million sector specific words that make up the startup lexicon.
This lack of track record usually puts new founders of the back foot as they lack the credibility in the space. This flows onto their company but there are a few easy ways to fake this credibility. The adage “Fake It Until You Make It” is pretty relevant here. I’ve outlined 3 ways for the first-time founder to borrow credibility.
You’ll have clients in one way or another, they buy your product or service.
Let’s start with who they are, could you promote that a celebrity has purchased it? Or maybe you could promote the outcome of the purchase. For example Red Bull advertise when a sporting personality who drinks there product wins a competition. They imply that this amazing outcome is linked to their brand, “Jim the javelin thrower wins world record after drinking Red Bull”.
Lastly, you’ve got the classic logo strip on a website, this builds instant credibility. Merely being associated with successful businesses implies you’re doing something well. Sometimes it also may be easier to ask for forgiveness than permission when using these logos (it’s best practice to ask though).
2. Advisory Boards
You can leverage the credibility of your advisory board massively. Have they done anything notable you could publish? For example, a lot of founders will publish remarks like “Industry veteran worth 50 million dollar joins the advisory board”. This leverages the advisors net worth and people make the rest up in their heads. If that person is advising they must be doing something right.
3. Niche Press
It’s relatively easy to get your brand out into niche or low-level press. There are hundreds of tech blog that are starved for content. Aim for blogs and publications that are less well known and pitch them with your press release or article. You then not only get the exposure that publication but get to use the whole “as seen in X and Y blog” tagline. You’ll find it much easier to aim for more prestigious publications once securing some entry level ones.